Hi everyone! Like most bloggers, I enjoy hearing what my readers have to say, whether right here on the blog or via social media–I love to connect. (Use one of my buttons to the right to reach out.) So, every now and again, I’ll write a post passing on some of the interesting things readers have had to say about vintage and antiques, as well as the occasional correction of my misinformation. That’s right, occasionally, I get it wrong and I have to eat some humble pie (as long as it’s strawberry rhubarb, it’s all good).
Not too long ago, I posted about this blue bottle that I picked up at a garage sale (along with a number of other bottles). I think I paid a dollar for it and suggested in the post that it might be an ink well. Several readers concurred. It felt good to be affirmed.
Alas, I found this photo on Etsy a couple of weeks ago. Notice that the bottle in the back left is identical to mine? This set, manufactured by Wheaton Glass sometime in the 1970’s, once held spices, not ink. I believe the company designed them with a colonial look purposely, in light of the nation’s bicentennial.
Just before Valentine’s Day, I shared a post, Put a Little Glitter In Your Valentine, that involved cardboard. I mentioned that I score good looking, high quality cardboard at Aldi’s. They have pallet-sized pieces separating their stacks of sugar. Florence at Vintage Southern Picks asked to see a picture of the “gorgeous looking piece of cardboard” that I used. So here you go. This is what it looks like after I’ve gotten it home and cut it into strips for better storage. It’s nice and sturdy and has a great brownish tone rather than grayish.
Kim recently commented on a Vintage Finds post (that included a couple of paintings): “I would generally walk right past paintings. How do you determine they are worth something? Especially that first one (above)– nice find!”
My response: Buying art is much like buying any antique or collectible, it’s a process learned over time. You learn from every purchase, other dealers, artists, by studying great art, and reading good books.
My education started when I was young and took an early interest in art. It continued into high school where I took every art class I could, but then it went on hiatus. Other than photography, which I never stopped engaging in, art took a backseat in college, law school, and when I worked. I woke out of my art slumber twenty years ago when I began to sell antiques and started to buy pieces of art that attracted me. About ten years ago I began teaching art at a home school coop and a private school, and that’s when my real education began. I bought every textbook I could get my hands on and learned as much as I could; I didn’t want to lead the students astray.
Over time you begin to develop an eye for art–looking for balance in the composition, use of color, drawing quality, and other design principles. I would recommend that you start by buying a piece that you admire at a really low price, say a dollar or two. Then ask friends and family what they think about it. Get some conversation going about why they like (or don’t like it) and use that info to make another purchase, and then learn from that buy and so on. Add to that some visits to local galleries and museums and you’ll learn more quickly than you might think.
Over the past few months, three people have messaged me about their vintage baskets, looking for more information and possible values. I find it difficult to do a good job via photographs because holding something in your hands makes all the difference. All were new-to-me, so I offered to post them on the blog to see if readers had any info they could offer. Ready to help me out?
BASKET #1 Linda O. messaged me about this attractive basket: “Would you be so kind as to tell me the potential value of my vintage wicker basket. I do not want to under-value its price potential and sell myself short. I need an expert opinion.”
My response: “I wish I were a real expert–lol. Unfortunately, I know just a little bit about a lot of things. I do know your basket is really beautiful. It looks like it has a wonderful, aged patina, but it’s really hard to tell without seeing something in person. I am not familiar with this form at all, thought the weaving itself (not the shape) reminds me of Nantucket baskets which can sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars. That said, without doing any research on it (and I do recommend you take the time to do some research and/or connect with a real expert), I’d probably price it at $125 to start out.
BASKET #2 Linda G. sent in this photo and had this to say: “I am hoping you can help me identify this antique basket. I am interested in it’s age and purpose. I have been told it might have been a poultry basket for taking fowl to market.”
And my response: “I’ve been poking around the internet trying to get some info for you, but I haven’t had much success. I was thinking maybe I could post the photos on my blog and ask readers if they could help us out. What do you think?”
BASKET # 3 Rachel A. sent me this message: “I was given this beautiful picnic basket with pop up table. I have been searching and searching with no luck for info about it. I was hoping you may know something. There is no name on it only the symbol on the front.
I responded: “Your basket is really something, Rachel! I’ve never seen a picnic basket like that before. I would say, just from the photos and the shininess of the brass and the dishes/flatware inside, that this is not an old piece, but it sure is fun! Wish I could tell you more
Have you ever seen a “basket” like this?
German Glass Pins
In a sewing notions post I wrote not too long ago, I suggested that these “toilet” pins might have something to do with a woman’s (ahem) cycle (not very practical). Donna A. responded: “I think ‘toilet pins’ were kept on a lady’s vanity as a part of her ‘toiletries,’ the things she needed to get ready for the day. I have also heard of perfume being called ‘toilet water.’ None of these things have anything to do with an actual toilet as we know it today. The pins would have been used for her clothing and hats.”
And Susan A. added: “You’re exactly right. These would have been kept on the lady’s vanity to fasten bits of fabric, veils, collars, and such, long before buttons were so widely available. Nuns who wore black habits used them frequently even in my lifetime to fasten complicated layers of clothing.
I stand humbly corrected.
In a Vintage Finds post a few weeks ago, I posted pictures of this tool and asked for help from my readers identifying it. Guesses ranged from a sewing tool to a grapefruit sectioner. I felt sure it couldn’t be the latter, and so I glibly responded to Jay, who suggested the idea: “Good guess, Jay, but upon closer examination, I’m not seeing how that would be possible!! Thanks for helping out 🙂”
Later Jay kindly wrote back and said: “I had a very vague memory of my grandparents coming home from Florida with huge bags of grapefruits and my grandfather using this. So I checked google with “vintage grapefruit sectioner” and up popped an Etsy item that had sold with the original box. You can’t read the directions because the photo is not sharp but the illustration will give you an idea on how to use the tool. The title of the listing is Alfred Knobler Grapefruit Sectioner. Thanks for prompting a fond memory of time spent with my grandparents — who I think had a drawer filled with any kitchen tool ever invented or on the market. 🙂”
My response: “You’re a star, Jay!! Thanks for sticking with the investigation, despite my poo-pooing your idea 🙂 Upon MUCH closer examination, the tool has revealed itself to in fact be a grapefruit sectioner–a very ingenious one, I might add. Thanks again, Jay!”
Once more, I stand humbly corrected.
If you made it this far, you’re a trooper! Thanks so much for stopping by to learn “What My Readers Have to Say About Vintage.” Many thanks to all of you who chat with me via comments and social media–you’re the life blood of this blog and I appreciate each and every one of you. Thanks for being my vintage-loving friends 🙂
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Bye for now,
Always adding new merchandise.